During the complete customer experience journey you provide, users will interact with your brand and products through multiple touchpoints. Obviously, it’s essential that the customer experience across all touchpoints is consistent in quality and depth. And this consistency is where we usually find the most room for improvement.
To start things off, we must first agree on what a customer experience journey is. According to the Nielsen Norman Group the definition is as follows:
A customer journey is made up by a series of touchpoints, with each touchpoint defining the details of the specific interaction. A touchpoint represents a specific interaction between a customer and an organization. It includes the device being used, the channel used for the interaction, and the specific task being completed.
When you set out to improve a customer’s experience during the customers journey, it’s important that you don’t analyze one touchpoint at a time but look at all touchpoints combined. Additionally, you should also consider the touchpoints that aren’t in your direct control. For example, reviews of your products in blogs, or even people discussing your products on forums.
That’s a lot of talk purely about customer experience (CX). But what about the user experience (UX)?
A common misconception is that user experience is a subset of customer experience .
According to the Nielsen Norman Group this model is no longer valid and should be interpreted differently: there is no CX vs UX, they are the same. The terms customer experience and user experience stem from a time there was only one type of digital communication: the computer. All interactions on the computer with your company were called user experience. Customer experience in its turn was used to describe all the interactions with your company over a prolonged period.
These days there are so many (digital) channels that customers use simultaneously, that even in a single customer journey the old distinction between CX and UX no longer is applicable.
The current best practice is to look at a customer’s relationship with your company during that customer’s lifecycle. You can divide that experience into three levels:
When designing your customer experience, it’s important to not only focus on the interaction level. Focusing on singular interactions, there’s a risk they’ll probably meet all the criteria and pass all tests for that interaction. But when looking at the bigger journey, or even multiple journeys, that interaction can potentially break an otherwise consistent customer experience. That’s why it’s vital to always keep track of the entire journey. Otherwise, specific interactions will look amazing on their own, but when combined reveal something of a Frankenstein’s monster.
This logic applied backward has a similar risk. Only focusing on the bigger picture, and forgetting about how the interactions stand on their own, can also lead to major problems. You can have world-class customer service in place, but if your customer can’t find it due to poorly designed navigation they will quickly move to one of your competitors.
Our goal at SQLI is to evaluate your entire customers experience. Not just from a strategy and UX point of view, but also from a brand perspective: How does branding add value to your customer experience? Read more about how branding can improve your customer experience.
How do we measure if the customer experience has improved? Of course we approach this from a strategic perspective, set the KPI’s, create a clear measurement setup, and start gathering data to capture the actual improvement. Ultimately there is one straightforward and obvious number that is extremely important; the amount of customers gained over a certain period. This is the main indicator of an improved customer experience design.
At SQLI, we are highly experienced in setting up a process for our clients that optimizes their customer experience, ensuring their user experience is consistent and relevant to their customers on all touchpoints, and truly drives their business. This is a continuous process and cycle; plan – do – check – act.
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